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Bible: What Does Romans 5 Teach Us About Peace With God, Adam's Sin, and Christ's Free Gift?

Updated on September 15, 2016
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Peace With God

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Romans 5--The Believer's Peace With God/Adam's Sin and Christ's Free Gift

The Justified in Christ Have Peace With God

Paul asserts that those whom God has declared righteous have peace (are reconciled, are no longer at enmity) with the Lord through their trust in Christ (v. 1).

Having God’s grace as the foundation of their standing as justified saints, believers can now gain further access into this “position” by exercising faith moment-by-moment, and then “boast in the hope of the glory that God will manifest” (v. 2; Ryrie, New Testament Study Bible, 270).

[Grace enables believers to rejoice in the prospect of seeing God in His glorious Being.]

Besides being able to rejoice in the awesome certainty of seeing the Lord in Glory in some future time, the righteous can also boast in their present-day troubles, because they know that God sends difficulties their way to produce endurance, godly character, and hope within them (vv. 3-4).

The Holy Spirit, God’s indwelling gift, pours His agape into the inner core (“hearts”) of His people, so that the aforementioned hope might become a sustaining strength within them (v. 5).

Next, the apostle refers back to the Roman believers’ ungodly, helpless, pre-conversion days when Christ died in their stead at the right time (v. 6).

He remarks that Jesus, demonstrating God’s agape, accomplished a supernatural act by dying not in the place of righteous people, nor even in the stead of good individuals, but in the capacity of a substitute for those in rebellion against God (vv. 7-8).

Expanding upon his discussion of the benefits of Christ’s death on behalf of believers, Paul first writes that God has already declared them righteous through Jesus’ propitiatory blood sacrifice.

Second, he indicates that the Lord’s death will also rescue them from punishment, preventing them from experiencing God’s wrath in the future (v. 9).

Besides acknowledging that believers are now at “peace” with God through Christ’s death, the apostle asserts a third blessing: they will continue to experience salvation through His resurrection life in heaven (v. 10).

Fourth, believers can now rejoice in God because they possess the peace Christ has provided for them through His mediation (v. 11).

In Adam We All Sinned

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Death Spread to All Men, For All Sinned

Adam's Sin and Christ's Sacrifice

Next, Paul elaborates upon a crucial argument, contrasting the consequences of Adam’s sin (spiritual death) with the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice (spiritual life) [vv. 12-21].

He sets it up with the relative adverb phrase “just as” in verse twelve, but does not complete the contrast (“even so”) until after his parenthetical explanation in verses thirteen through seventeen where he reintroduces the subject of sin entering the world.

He asserts that sin entered the world through Adam; spiritual separation from God (death) resulted for the human race because of this sin (cf. Gen. 2:17).

Through procreation, Adam passed this sinful nature on to his descendants who in turn follow the same pattern.

In essence, all people sinned when Adam sinned; all people are born sinners and are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins because they inherit a sinful nature from Adam (v. 12; cf. Eph. 2:1).

The Law

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Christ's Payment for Sin: Sufficient for All, Efficient Only for Believers

Paul now pursues the thought that although sin was present in the world from Adam to Moses, and though sin caused the death of everyone during that time, God did not impute it to anyone’s account as a violation of any specific commandment, because He had not yet given the Law through the patriarch Moses (vv. 13-14a; see Ryrie, New Testament Study Bible, 271).

The apostle transitions into a discussion of Christ and His salvation (that is, the “free gift”) by referring to Adam as “a type of Him who was to come” (vv. 14b-15a).

Paul delineates the first contrast between the gift of God’s grace and the offense: even though “many” died because of the one offense of Adam, God causes Christ’s grace to abound “much more” to “many” (v. 15).

[Just what does Paul mean by “many”?

Later, he uses the term “all.”

Does he signify the same number of people with both words?]

Condemned in Adam, but Justified in Christ

A second contrast finds God’s condemnation resulting from Adam’s one sin, but Christ’s free gift justifying sinners who trespassed many times (v. 16).

Paul next contrasts the ultimate end for those who participate in the offense (that is, death rules!) with the royal outcome for those who receive God’s abundant grace, even “the gift of Christ’s righteousness” (life), by faith [v. 17; cf. John 1:12].

Verse 18 clearly summarizes Paul’s argument: Adam’s sin causes everyone to stand condemned before God, but Christ’s righteous act (propitiation) makes justification possible for all.

[His death was sufficient for all, but efficient only for those who believe; that is, those whom the Father has given Him.]

Whereas Adam’s disobedience made many people sinners, Christ’s obedience will make many righteous (v. 19).

Humanity’s consciousness of its offense against God’s holy standard grew after people became aware of the Law; God’s grace, however, became even more abundantly available to sinners (v. 20).

Sin ushered in the reign of spiritual death, but grace through righteousness results in eternal life through Christ (v. 21).

© 2013 glynch1

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